sail-world.com
 
 
News Home Cruising Photo Gallery Video Gallery
Sail-World.com : Vale, Frank Bethwaite DFC OAM 26.05.1920 - 12.05.2012
Vale, Frank Bethwaite DFC OAM 26.05.1920 - 12.05.2012

'Frank Bethwaite doing his last rig experiments driving around the carpark at Woollahra in March. Although too ill to write the final chapter in his next book, he did dictate it, and finished the work before he died on Saturday morning.'    Bethwaite Design    Click Here to view large photo

Frank Bethwaite passed away peacefully after a short illness on Saturday 12 May 2012, surrounded by his family.

A pioneer in small boat design and research, Frank was the author of 'High Performance Sailing' (1992) and 'Higher Performance Sailing' (2002) and had just completed his third book on apparent wind sailing to be published later this year by Adlard Coles.

Born in Wanganui, New Zealand in 1920, Frank learned to sail on the Wanganui River, building his own boats, experimenting with rigs and hull designs. He joined the Royal NZ Air Force during World War II and flew bombing raids in the Pacific for which he was awarded the DFC. Frank met and married Adelaide (Nel) Mills, a cipher officer in the air force, in 1945 and moved to Torbay, just north of Auckland.

Continuing his interest in flying, Frank joined TEAL (later Air New Zealand), at the same time experimenting with model aeroplanes to find the most efficient wing shapes in competition. After five years of testing various designs and studying thermal lifts along the coastline, Frank won the world endurance record of over nine hours aloft in 1952. This was followed by 2 more world records. Four children were also born over 11 years.

Frank and Nel moved to Sydney with the family in 1959 after Frank joined the CSIRO for the visionary cloud seeding project, settled in Northbridge and immediately became active members at the Northbridge Sailing Club, forming a group that designed the Northbridge Senior (NS14), a small light sailing boat that women could sail as well as men. The NS14 proliferated on the east coast of NSW and is still racing in various pockets today. In the early 60s, under Frank’s guidance and leadership and the teaching by volunteer club members, several hundred children learned to sail. Numerous State, National and World Champions evolved from this initiative.

By 1968 Frank had established a small manufacturing company called Starboard Products inside an old dance hall at Naremburn. While producing wooden masts and other parts for boats, he also conducted experiments on wind flowing over sails inside a small wind tunnel that he created on the premises. Using smoke piped through straws, he was able to photograph the disturbed air, which lead to further experiments shaping masts to promote more power.

Only satisfied if the experiments were measurable and repeatable, Frank’s knowledge of airflow over masts and sails became extraordinary, leading to innovative breakthroughs in rig design and performance.

In 1972 and 1976, Frank assisted the Australian Olympic Sailing Team as the team meteorologist, and the research that he did for those Games formed the basis for his book entitled 'High Performance Sailing', published in 1992 and translated into 12 languages.

Frank designed a new boat in 1975 called the Tasar, with a minimum weight limit to encourage adults (men and women) to sail and race competitively. This was picked up by the international boat building and marketing company Performance Sailcraft, owner of the highly successful Laser racing dinghy. Tasar manufacturers were established in Canada, the UK, Japan and Australia and numbers have reached 3000 Worldwide.

The 1980s and 1990s saw Frank involved with Sydney’s famous 18ft skiffs, assisting Dave Porter on the 'KB' to a world championship. At the same time, he was also consulted for the Little America’s Cup, collaborating with his innovative way of thinking and research that lead to several victories.

Frank’s younger son, Julian, was now part of the design business at Starboard Products and the two of them formed a formidable team, bouncing ideas off each other and working together to produce the most incredible skiffs that Sydney Harbour has ever seen.

By 1995 Julian had come up with the 49er concept and with Frank’s very practical assistance the boat was developed into the Olympic skiff that was selected for the 2000 Sydney Games. 15 years later, the same hull has just been selected for the 2016 Games in a new skiff class for women, as no other hull since has been able to match it for performance, consistency in production, cost and accessibility. In 2000, the business name was changed to Bethwaite Design.

Frank’s interest in helping people to learn to sail faster took a new turn in the early 2000’s with his collaboration on a new sailing simulator. Modelled on a Laser, he worked with several others on developing the software that most realistically represented actual sailing conditions – unsteady breezes, the power of hiking and steady steering and tested this out on the top Laser sailors in Australia. He wasn’t satisfied until the results on the simulator reflected the results on the actual race course, and once this was a reality, he then set about making the simulator as portable as possible, so as to give sailing clubs the most access possible.

Right up until April 2012 you could find Frank driving around the local carpark with a specially constructed miniature mast and sail fixed to the passenger window of the car videoing the effect of the wind across the sail at various speeds. His object was to find at what speed the flow became delaminar, the fact that he needed to do this in a car rather than out on the water reflecting the increased speeds of the boats that he helped to create decades ago.

In 2000 Frank Bethwaite was awarded an OAM for Services to Sport.

Frank Bethwaite is survived by his wife of 67 years, Nel, his four children Christine, Mark, Nicky and Julian, and his five grandchildren Campbell, Luci, Harry, Angus and Alex.


by Nicky Bethwaite

  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=97200

11:06 AM Mon 14 May 2012GMT


Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.







News - USA and the World















The first annual WetaFresh is a big success by Tim Wieringa, Muskegon, MI


















Techno 293 Worlds - France and Italy claim titles by International Windsurfing Association,














420 World Championship - Singapore and Spain out front by 420 International Class Association,




















2014 ISAF Sailing World Cup final qualification system published
Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac - Karma Sailing Group wins
Red Bull 49erFX: Easing into the Olympic scene at Rio
Kempe thrilled to invite himself to Gold Cup party
2014 420 World Championships - Singapore wins Day 2 race
Lightning strikes cut short CFJ Nationals
Etchells Invitational Cup - Girls on top in Cowes
National Sailing Hall of Fame reveals inductees
J/111 North American Championship - Wind Czar victorious
Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race sets off August 10th
PWA Fuerteventura Grand Slam - Antoine Albeau victorious on day 5
Snipe Western Hemisphere and Orient Championship headed for San Diego
WPA Championships - Kids race divisions offered
New Clever Pig launched by US Sailing
America's Cup: Group agrees to co-operate in London Meeting
Copa del Rey Mapfre - Build-up reveals some remarkable enthusiasm
Marblehead NOOD Regatta - Images by Leighton O'Connor
America's Cup: Two AC72 skippers discuss Foiling Moths and the Cup
RS Feva World Championship - Brilliant sailing on day 2
America's Cup: Alameda makes overtures on Venue hosting for San Fran *Feature
Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket Race Week 2014 - Relishing a challenge   
Edgartown Race Weekend - BBBR and Round-the-Island Race winners named   
Etchells Invitational Cup - Aussies take early lead in Cowes   
PWA Fuerteventura Grand Slam - Antoine Albeau strikes back on day 4   
Aquece Rio – International Sailing Regatta - All set for test event   
ISAF World Sailing Rankings for 28 July 2014   
29er World Championship - All set in Kingston   
ORC World Championship - Third Course area opens for huge fleet   
Day one of the Allen RS Feva World Championships   
Anna Tunnicliffe: Final two days of the 2014 Reebok CrossFit Games   
Joachim Aschenbrenner takes gold at ISAF Youth Match Race Worlds 2014   
Maxi Soh scores double wins in CMRC Summer Doubleheader   
29er World Championship opening ceremonies in Confederation Park   
PWA Fuerteventura Grand Slam - Action resumes on day 3   
Vic-Maui Yacht Race - Polishing the silverware   
Land Rover Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race Start 2014 VIDEO   
Laser Radial Men’s World Championship 2014- Final day   
2014 Pacific Cup - Scarlet Runner wins   
Gladwell's Line: America's Cup - Joint Statement is a curious note *Feature   
ISAF Youth Match Racing World Champ - Top four battle it out for final   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News







Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/RSS-Icon.png

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
XLXL WAS US
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT